The Master of Islamic Religious Leadership (MIRL) program at BIS aims to prepare professional American Muslim religious leaders for committed service to society. BIS’s uniquely-designed interdisciplinary curriculum will equip students with a deep understanding of Islam, the contemporary context of the modern world and the skills necessary to serve competently in one of three specialties:
- Religious and Spiritual Leadership.
- Religious Counseling and Arbitration.
- Outreach and Daʿwah.
Graduates of the MIRL program will have career opportunities serving as imams in mosques; leaders of Islamic centers; chaplains in hospitals, universities, prisons and the military; youth leaders and guidance counselors; community outreach and communications specialists and similar religious and professional roles. In addition, the training students receive in our graduate school will equip them to bring an Islamic framework to other career paths and disciplines they may choose to pursue in the future.
Over the course of the three-year program, students will complete 102 academic credit hours of course work and two summer internships. The program seeks to ground students in the Islamic sciences and Islamic spirituality, fostering a deep appreciation and connection to the Qur’an, Hadith, and the Seerah (biography) of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Students will also be trained in the philosophical and historical underpinnings of Western civilization, the history and role of religious communities in America and the key skills required to serve in community settings.
Students will complete two summer internships as part of the program. Each internship counts towards six credits and may, subject to BIS approval, be completed at an institution that aligns with the academic and professional interests of the student.
The program includes at least two travel seminars meant for students to learn about work in a variety of Islamic organizations, both in the US and abroad. In addition, travel seminars will help students establish relationships and networks with others that will support their work as leaders in the future.
The educational philosophy of BIS puts great weight on students’ moral, religious and spiritual development by making the quest for spiritual excellence a central component of all activities, both inside and outside the classroom. The program imparts knowledge and skills in all subjects with an eye to practical applicability and on-the-ground implementation through case studies, internships and other forms of field work.